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U.S. OKs Nearly $1 Billion Arms Deal for Iraq

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has notified Congress that it has received the green light from the State Department for a package of arms sales for Iraq. The deal approves the sale of nearly $1 billion worth of light attack planes, aerostats, and up-armored High Mobility Multi- Purpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs). The request for military hardware was made by Iraq.

The AT-6 Texan II deal is the largest at $790 million. If the final agreement is approved by Iraq, it would be a big win for Beechcraft. Kansas-based Beechraft previously lost out on a lucrative contract to equip the Afghan Air Force with the AT-6 Texan II.

The details of the sale include 24 AT-6C Texan II light attack aircraft, 200 up-armored HMMWVs, and 7 aerostats to the Iraqi military. The AT-6 Texan II deal is the largest at $790 million. If the final agreement is approved by Iraq, it would be a big win for Beechcraft. Kansas-based Beechraft previously lost out on a lucrative contract to equip the Afghan Air Force with the AT-6 Texan II. The U.S. Air Force instead choose the Embraer Super Tucano.

Iraqi T-6A Texan II

An Iraqi pilot instructor student taxis his T-6A Texan II out to the runway at Combat Operating Base Speicher, Tikrit, Iraq on June 29, 2011. Iraqi pilots use the T-6As to ready for the more sophisticated aircraft that are on order by the Iraqi Air Force. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. David Salanitri

Besides 24 aircraft, the $790 million will include services and equipment such as AAR-47 missile launch detection systems, spare engines, and countermeasures. “The proposed sale of these aircraft, equipment, and support will enhance the ability of the Iraqi forces to sustain themselves in their efforts to bring stability to Iraq and to prevent overflow of unrest into neighboring countries,” said the DSCA press release announcing the sale.

“The proposed sale of these aircraft, equipment, and support will enhance the ability of the Iraqi forces to sustain themselves in their efforts to bring stability to Iraq and to prevent overflow of unrest into neighboring countries.”

The aircraft deal comes on top of one that Iraq has with Lockheed Martin for 36 F-16 Fighting Falcons. The first Iraqi F-16 made its initial flight on May 7. Iraq already operates T-6A trainers, that are used to ready Iraqi pilots for the more sophisticated aircraft.

Iraqi F-16 Fighting Falcon

The first of 36 F-16 Fighting Falcons for Iraq make its first flight on May 7, 2014. Lockheed Martin photo

According to a DSCA press release, the $101 million in HMMWVs, “would facilitate progress towards increasing the Iraq’s ability to defend its oil infrastructure against terrorist attacks. Iraq will use the HMMWVs to increase the safety, effectiveness, and self-reliance of the Iraqi Army’s Oil Pipeline Security Division. Iraq will have no difficulty absorbing these additional HMMWVs into its armed forces.” The deal would include M2 .50-caliber machine guns, spare parts, and training. AM General would be the prime contractor for the Iraqi HMMWVs.

“Iraq will use the HMMWVs to increase the safety, effectiveness, and self-reliance of the Iraqi Army’s Oil Pipeline Security Division. Iraq will have no difficulty absorbing these additional HMMWVs into its armed forces.”

The aerostat deal is comprised of 7 Raytheon aerostats and 14 rapid aerostat initial deployment tower systems. Installation, spare parts, support equipment, and technical assistance are included in the $90 million contract. The smallest of the three announced, the aerostats, “would facilitate progress towards increasing the Iraq’s ability to provide protection of national level command and control sites, military installations, and other critical infrastructure against terrorist attacks. Iraq will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces,” according to the DSCA press release.

Iraqi Up-armored Humvees

Iraqi soldiers take turns driving their up-armored High Mobility Multi- Purpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs) through ditches and over uneven terrain during a licensing course held by Regimental Combat Team 5, Camp Fallujah, Iraq, June 16, 2006. Iraq has requested an additional 200 HMMWVs at a cost of $101 million. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Gunnery Sgt. Mark Oliva

None of these deals will alter the basic military balance in the region, something that must be certified before approval of any sale

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Steven Hoarn is the Editor/Photo Editor for Defense Media Network. He is a graduate of...